Sunny Reynolds Responds to Councilman Yakir Lubowski’s Letter

Dear Warrenton Citizens, Friends, and fellow Council Members:

First, thank you to everyone who voted for me and supported my campaign for re-election. It has been a gratifying four-year term of service, and I’m grateful for all we accomplished through continuing collaboration and much compromise. I’ve enjoyed serving as your vice mayor and council member. As a local business owner and civic volunteer for many years, I am proud of my record of public service and advocacy undertaken on behalf of Warrenton citizens.

It is for this very reason, that I must respond to the letter written by Yakir Lubowsky, apparently emailed (or otherwise published) to local citizens on or about April 30, with a request that upon agreement with the views expressed, it be passed “along to your mailing list of other folks who live in Warrenton proper.” It used his previous town council email address, and Mr. Lubowsky and others reportedly dropped off hard copies in citizens’ mailboxes. A copy of this letter is available through Fauquier Now and Fauquier Times and is public record as a formal complaint was filed with the State Board of Elections, which has scheduled a hearing in Richmond on May 21.

Sadly, rather than simply endorsing certain candidates, it contained an explicit request “urging folks to remove Linda ‘Sunny’ Reynolds from the Warrenton Town Council through this election” and further denounced me as being the “persistent source of most of Council’s dysfunction.” It then purported to present a “candid report” of the specific ways in which I placed my personal interests ahead of those of our citizens and otherwise “betrayed” my constituents.

Although incivility has become commonplace in national politics, I find it truly sad that in our town this sort of pre-election hostility and underhandedness took the place of healthy public discourse — that open insults and personal animosity replaced spirited debate. I don’t feel that we should reward rudeness or incivility by tolerating it endlessly, or by failing to protest what amounts to bullying.

In the end, Mr. Lubowsky’s letter misreports certain facts, distorts others and, simply put, presents nothing more than an accusatory opinion about how events transpired and the working process among council members. This is not something that I can allow to stand uncorrected for myself and for all women who have felt his enmity.

I will address the more important matters as follows, while dismissing the rest as a personal diatribe:

• When elected, I promised to vote my conscience. I worked hard to inform myself about agenda issues and did my homework in preparation to vote; I sat on three town committees and often went to planning commission meetings as well. I never missed a town council meeting.

• While being accused of the “persistent source of most of Council’s dysfunction”, I would note that five of my six fellow council members endorsed me for re-election as well as our Center District board of supervisors representative.

• Since June of 2014, 237 new businesses have opened in the town, among them Wort Hog Brewing Co., Marshall’s and 360° Fitness.

• Old Town has had a plan in place for a year and is getting a reboot through Experience Old Town Warrenton, a Virginia Main Street program led by an impressive and spirited board of which I am a member and committee chair.

• We have established a full-time Economic Development Manager position to assist in economic development for the town.

• The Walker Drive rezoning passed by a 6-1 vote by the council and involved 10 submissions between June 26, 2015 and June 22, 2017. There were well-attended public hearings with the planning commission and at town council. It also included approximately 39 proffers benefitting the town both economically and from a planning perspective.

• The American Legion Assisted Living Facility project passed by a 5-2 vote by the council and fills a much-needed void in our aging community, going from 120 units to 90 units, with additional submitted proffers that benefit the town. There were two public hearings.

• I have no more influence or power than any other council member — though I may have a fervent opinion and more energy for the arduous process of reaching an accord on the issue. This is how things get done.

• In 2014, I was unanimously elected vice mayor by my fellow council members, including Mr. Lubowsky, and ran several council meetings for Mayor Powell Duggan in his absence.

• Through all of this, I have successfully kept my photography and travel company businesses on a separate track from town business, carefully avoiding any issue that could be considered a conflict of interest.

I have been and will remain passionate about our town, its citizens and the democratic process, which we all embrace and hopefully respect. I am forthright in my opinions, sincere in my beliefs, undisguised in my motivation and honest in my approach to leadership as a town council member. I have never pandered to special interests in any area of life, although I have worked hard as a consensus builder to construct a path forward on divisive issues, where I felt it would benefit the town.

I will not end by attaching my bio to this letter but will return my focus to my successful travel business and my time to supporting the Boys and Girls Club of Fauquier County and Experience Old Town Warrenton — where real community work is done.

I wish the best to our new town council members and all who work tirelessly, sometimes at risk to their reputation to serve the public.